Puli OR, Danysh BP, McBeath E, Sinha DK, Hoang NM, Powell RT, Danysh HE, Cabanillas ME, Cote GJ, Hofmann MC. The transcription factor ETV5 mediates BRAFV600E-induced proliferation and TWIST1 expression in papillary thyroid cancer cells. Neoplasia. 2018 Nov;20(11):1121-34. doi: 10.1016/j.neo.2018.09.003.


The ETS family of transcription factors is involved in several normal remodeling events and pathological processes including tumor progression. ETS transcription factors are divided into subfamilies based on the sequence and location of the ETS domain. ETV5 (Ets variant gene 5; also known as ERM) is a member of the PEA3 subfamily. Our meta-analysis of normal, benign, and malignant thyroid samples demonstrated that ETV5 expression is upregulated in papillary thyroid cancer and was predominantly associated with BRAF V600E or RAS mutations. However, the precise role of ETV5 in these lesions is unknown. In this study, we used the KTC1 cell line as a model for human advanced papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) because the cells harbor the heterozygous BRAF (V600E) mutation together with the C250T TERT promoter mutation. The role of ETV5 in PTC proliferation was tested using RNAi followed by high-throughput screening. Signaling pathways driving ETV5 expression were identified using specific pharmacological inhibitors. To determine if ETV5 influences the expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT) markers in these cells, an EMT PCR array was used, and data were confirmed by qPCR and ChIP-qPCR. We found that ETV5 is critical for PTC cell growth, is expressed downstream of the MAPK pathway, and directly upregulates the transcription factor TWIST1, a known marker of intravasation and metastasis. Increased ETV5 expression could therefore be considered as a marker for advanced PTCs and a possible future therapeutic target.

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